- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CONNECTICUT

Skakel appealing murder conviction

STAMFORD — Attorneys for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel said they were asking the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to overturn his murder conviction, saying his due-process rights were violated because a statute of limitations had expired.

Skakel, 45, is serving 20 years to life for his 2002 conviction in the 1975 beating death of his Greenwich neighbor, Martha Moxley, when the two were teenagers.

Skakel appealed his conviction to the Connecticut Supreme Court last year, arguing that a five-year statute of limitations at the time that Miss Moxley died when he was charged in 2000. The court unanimously rejected that appeal in January.

The legislature eliminated the statute of limitations for murder in 1976, but the state high court ruled that because the Moxley murder occurred within a five-year window of that legislation, the change applied to his crime.

Prosecutors said the chances are slim that the U.S. Supreme Court would agree to hear the case.

FLORIDA

Lawsuit announced in boot-camp death

TALLAHASSEE — The family of a 14-year-old boy who died in January hours after guards manhandled him at a juvenile boot camp planned to file a lawsuit yesterday seeking more than $40 million in damages against the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, their attorney said.

Ben Crump, who represents the family of Martin Lee Anderson, said he would sue in Leon County court after Bay County officials rejected an offer to settle for its insurance-policy limit of $3 million.

“A video proves that as seven guards punished Martin by kicking, punching, kneeing, choking and slamming him while they jammed ammonia tablets up his nose and covered his mouth, a nurse watched him slip in and out of consciousness,” Mr. Crump said.

CALIFORNIA

Man, 72, settles job-discrimination suit

SAN JOSE — The city agreed to pay a 72-year-old sewage treatment plant worker $35,000 to settle a complaint that he was denied a promotion because his superiors feared he would die on the overnight shift.

James Yu, a diesel engine mechanic, filed a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after an overnight position for which he interviewed was left unfilled in 2001.

Colleagues said in depositions that their bosses were afraid of “finding him dead” from overwork, said Marcia Mitchell, senior trial attorney for the commission.

San Jose officials denied discriminating against Mr. Yu and said he wasn’t qualified for the promotion.

“It was a hiring decision,” City Attorney Richard Doyle said. “The panel looked at this in a very fair and objective way.”

The $35,000 settlement reached Tuesday is roughly the amount Mr. Yu would have received in the past five years had he earned the promotion, Miss Mitchell said.

COLORADO

Prince’s home on sale for $135 million

ASPEN — The getaway of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan is up for sale for an asking price of $135 million, which could set a U.S. sales record, according to published reports.

Real estate agent Joshua Saslove told the Aspen Times and the Aspen Daily News that Prince Bandar’s 15-bedroom, 16-bathroom 56,000-square-foot mansion — complete with a racquetball court, indoor pool and outdoor water features — is up for sale because the prince is too busy to enjoy his mountain palace.

The offering includes several small homes on the 95-acre property.

Prince Bandar served as the Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005.

ILLINOIS

Derailment survivors hailed for response

CHICAGO — Mayor Richard M. Daley yesterday praised the survivors of an underground train derailment for remaining calm as they helped one another through a darkened, smoke-filled tunnel to an emergency exit.

“I’d like to commend the passengers on this train for their calm and orderly response,” Mr. Daley said.

A day after the derailment and fire injured nearly 200 people during the evening rush hour, wary riders headed back into the Blue Line’s reopened downtown subway stations yesterday morning.

The National Transportation Safety Board was trying to determine what had caused the last car’s wheels to jump the track and ignite debris below.

At least two remained hospitalized yesterday in critical condition.

NORTH CAROLINA

Inmate slain after shooting deputy

JACKSON — An inmate grabbed a deputy’s gun inside a courthouse yesterday and shot him, then was killed as he struggled with other law-enforcement officers.

Willie Forrest grabbed the officer’s weapon and shot him in the arm about 9:20 a.m., said Karen Cole, a dispatcher with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.

As a second officer struggled with him, Forrest fired another shot into the air. A third officer fatally shot him, Miss Cole said. The wounded sheriff’s deputy was in good condition, authorities said.

Forrest, 37, was serving 56 years in prison for attempted murder and other crimes. He was being transferred from Jackson to a prison in Raleigh at the time of the shooting, according to WRAL-TV in Raleigh.

OHIO

Prisoner executed using new guidelines

LUCASVILLE — A man who fatally shot his wife because she wanted to leave him was executed yesterday, the first Ohio inmate put to death using new injection guidelines adopted because the last execution was plagued with problems.

Rocky Barton was closely examined several times for suitable injection sites before he died at 10:27 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.

Barton said he deserved to die and gave up his appeals, which could have delayed his execution for years.

The state’s lethal injection protocol was changed after the execution of Joseph Clark in May, which was held up for 90 minutes when prison staff struggled to find a viable vein and one they used collapsed.

The state now requires staff to make every effort to find two injection sites and use a new method to ensure the veins stay open once entryways are inserted.

The process appeared to go smoothly yesterday, prisons Director Terry Collins said.

TEXAS

Astronauts finish final spacewalk

HOUSTON — Spacewalking astronauts used a caulking gun and putty knife yesterday to practice repairs in Space Shuttle Discovery’s cargo bay as part of NASA’s plan to ensure there will be no repeats of the 2003 Columbia accident.

The seven-hour outing was the third and final spacewalk of Discovery’s 13-day mission.

Astronauts Piers J. Sellers and Michael E. Fossum worked in the open cargo bay to fix sample broken heat-shield panels.

The damage that doomed Space Shuttle Columbia, which was hit on the wing by a piece of debris during liftoff, was too big to be fixed in space, even if the crew had had repair kits aboard.

Columbia broke apart during re-entry, and all seven astronauts aboard were killed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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